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Retail giant Wal-Mart has pledged to increase its investments in China's food safety threefold, following the scandal in which fox meat was sold as donkey meat in the Asian country.
The company said it would allocate $48.2 million to food safety projects in China between 2013 and 2015, compared to $16 million it had previously provisioned for the period. As part of its efforts to ensure better protection for consumers, Wal-Mart will step up checks on suppliers and will double the number of DNA tests it carries out on meat products, the Washington Post reported.
According to Wal-Mart's China chief compliance officer Paul Gallemore, the extra budget will be used to ensure the chain's expansion in China will proceed as planned. Wal-Mart aims to turn the huge Chinese market into its "future home market," Gallemore said. There are currently about 400 Wal-Mart stores operating across the country, and more than 100 more are predicted to open by 2016.
While food safety poses problems across the globe, the issue seems to be particularly serious in China, the Washington Post said. In 2013, 900 people were arrested for selling fox, rat and mink that was labeled as mutton. And more than half of all food processing and packaging facilities in the country failed safety inspections in 2011, statistics from food quality control firm Asia Inspection showed.